Long ago, Andy Ninja the ISA Brown laid an egg a day, regular as clockwork. The laundry, attached to the back of the house, was her chosen spot. The eggs started appearing on the tiled floor, so we put out a straw-filled cardboard box, to stop breakages if nothing else. For Snowball the Silkie bantam to lay, everything had to be just right: clear blue skies, light yet refreshing breezes, no interruptions to routine or uproar of any kind. She is a right diva. Looking around at the picnic-perfect weather and hearing some self-satisfied cackling you might well figure that she had done the business, but you then have to find the damn things before they started to rot. If you successfully track down her hidey hole she immediately looks for a more private and profoundly inaccessible location.
But you could set your watch by Andy and her much missed sister Harley as they hopped up the back steps on their daily mission. I used to joke that the only way of making egg collection more convenient would be to put an egg carton next to the washing machine and get them to lay directly into it.
Sadly, those days are well behind us. Harley succumbed to some nasty bite or bug and, after a few months of laying soft-shelled eggs, Andy stopped producing eggs over a year ago. No amount of shellgrit or other calcium-enhancing pampering seemed to toughen those babies up. I guess it was the beginning of “the change”.
Despite her recent “transition” from egg-laying stalwart to quasi-cockerel who crows at dawn, Andy still seems to have a soft spot for the laundry.
She loiters on the steps while waiting for her breakfast to be delivered, but when she’s fed, she’s there again, trying to sneak past me while I’m filling the front-loader. She’ll settle in a corner near the sink, fluff out her feathers and hunker down in position that says “I’ve got some serious egg laying to do”. Given half a chance, she’ll roost in there at night as well. Here’s her, shut out, roosting on the next best thing: the back doorstep.
The laundry probably is a cut above the other dry and sheltered places to bunk down for the night, at least until Palm Beach, the new coop, is open to the general public. But I wonder if she goes there because she hankers after the good old days when she was Andy the regular layer, top chook in the pecking order, Andy the laundry ninja.